November

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

It feels like November has both sped by and dragged on.

I swear it was just yesterday we were all talking about Lush's Halloween collection, and yet I've read enough stories about the US election to last me a lifetime. (I suspect there'll be plenty more in the coming months and years.)

Seeing the fear and helplessness unfold once the result was confirmed was heartbreaking, especially on the other side of the pond. As a reminder that there's still some good in the world, Katie Brennan set up the #TodayImGrateful hashtag and I suggest heading there if everything that's going on in the world is getting to you. It's completely and utterly heartwarming, and anyone can join in. I try and take part most days. (I've noticed there's at least one food-related item on there every time. No shame!)



Vegan Beauty From Arbonne

Monday, 28 November 2016

I barely knew anything about Arbonne before I tried these products.

I love that, though. I love trying out new brands, seeing what works for me (and what doesn't). I love knowing there's another cruelty-free option out there for everyone to use.

Arbonne's philosophy can be summed up in three words: pure, safe, and beneficial.

Arbonne Make-Up

When Adult Acne Comes Back

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Back in April I wrote about the things that help to clear up my acne.

That's the end of that, I thought. I've been through my acne phase and we can all move on. (There were even a few days in June and July when I left the house with a completely bare face.)

Except I can't move on. It came back.

Sad pug
This is how I feel when I'm hiding from the world. We've all been there.

LoveLula Beauty Box, November 2016

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Surprise post is my favourite.

Not the boring kind, like letters from the bank trying to flog you products you don't want or need, but fun post, like parcels.

So I was very excited when the postman delivered the November edition of LoveLula's Beauty Box* to my door. Trying new products is one of my favourite things to do, but I've never really bought into the whole beauty box thing before (most of them feature brands that are non-CF, so it's a waste of money).

Fortunately, the LoveLula box is full of cruelty-free products, with plenty of natural ingredients to boot. (You also get 20% off the brands featured in the box, just in case you fall in love with any of the samples.)

LoveLula Beauty Box, November 2016

Cruelty-Free Evening Shower Routine

Monday, 21 November 2016

There are few things I look forward to more than coming home to jump into a hot shower.

I don't really have the time (or patience) for baths these days, but showers? I bloody love them. And since I like to spend as much time as possible in bed every morning, I shower at night so I can wind down before I go to sleep.

I switch my products up quite a lot, but there are three I've been coming back to recently (and all of them are suitable for vegans!)

Naturelle Coffee Scrub

5 Favourite Dairy-Free Snacks

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Giving up dairy is hard.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm not quite managing it at the moment but I think it's much healthier to take it a step at a time. Once you start to look for it, you realise dairy products are everywhere.

Fortunately I've found plenty of dairy-free snacks to keep me going, no matter what the occasion.


Booja Booja Ice Cream

The Battle for Groomed Brows, with NYX Tame & Frame Tinted Brow Pomade

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Oh, eyebrows, how I love you.

At least, I love you when you look good.

But making my brows look halfway decent isn't always easy. They're incredibly sparse, my right eyebrow has a random bald patch, and you know the saying Your eyebrows should be sisters, not twins? I'm pretty sure mine aren't even related.

High street brow products

5 People I See On My Commute

Monday, 14 November 2016

Once you get into the swing of commuting, you find yourself noticing a little bit more than you did previously.

This makes it perfect for people-watching.

And I've had plenty of time to observe everyone around me over the past few months. On my twice-daily train journeys in and out of London, I've noticed first and foremost that the world really is a diverse place, which is wonderful. But I've also noticed that there are a few stereotypes mixed in with it all.

I see the same people every day.

5 People I See On My Commute

Cruelty-Free Eye Cream: Budget vs. High End

Sunday, 13 November 2016

I go through phases with eye cream.

Sometimes I forget to use it and sometimes I'm obsessed; there is no in-between.

For the past few months I've been obsessed because I've been trying out two eye creams from Love Lula  one budget option, and one high end option.

But which one is better?

Budget: Laidbare Pack Your Bags Lighten & Tighten Eye Cream*

They say: Pack those bags and say goodbye to sleepy eyes! Our clever eye cream contains buckwheat wax, an incredible ingredient to help reduce puffiness and dark circles. Shea butter hydrates and eyebright helps reduce the appearance of redness and brightens the skin.

High End: Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream*

They say: A luscious yet light eye cream that provides a cooling and soothing sensory experience. Super rich Vitamin C from the seed of the New Zealand kiwi works superbly to repair damaged tissue. Assists in tissue repair, hydration and moisture. Clinically shown to stimulate synthesis of collagen production in human skin cells by up to 82%. Serves to improve skin tone and complexion and awaken tired, dull skin.

I've been using the Laidbare cream on my left eye and the Antipodes cream on my right (for side-by-side comparison purposes) since the end of August.

Working Out What's Important (and What Really Doesn't Matter)

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

One of the biggest lessons I learnt at university was that it's okay to like what you like.

It sounds so simple and obvious when you write it down as plainly as that, but after being around people at university who looked down at everyone and everything that didn't conform to their own personal views of how things should be, I started getting into the habit of explaining myself.

The light bulb moment came when my friend Lannee looked at me during one of these explanations and said, "Beth, you don't have to justify yourself."

And she was right.

I'd become so accustomed to backing up my opinions, no matter how straightforward or inconsequential they were, that I'd begun to defend myself automatically. Putting the disclaimers out there, just in case. (I still have to stop myself from doing it when I meet new people.)

So I made a list. A list of things that are both big (people and my career) and relatively smaller (my skincare habits. Seriously, I'm obsessed) so I could get some clarity about what matters and what doesn't. And I'm sharing some of the list today.

Working Out What's Important


Doesn't matter: What other people think of me  it's none of my business and you're never gonna please everyone.
Does matter: What I think of me.

Doesn't matter: Having a traditional 9-5 job. Well, if the job is right for me then I'll take it, but I'm also open to finding something less conventional if it suits me.
Does matter: Getting my writing career going.

Doesn't matter: Publishing a fiction novel.
Does matter: Publishing a book of my own autobiographical writing, with plenty biography thrown in for good measure. I love reading fiction but I find non-fiction so much more fulfilling to write.

Doesn't matter: People who look down on my eating habits (no meat, limited dairy, and plenty of avocado on toast, fyi).
Does matter: Making my eating habits as ethical as I can, and eating healthy food that also tastes amazing.

Doesn't matter: Sleeping in a tent with no access to hot water or clean toilets. Sounds like a random one but you'd be surprised by the amount of people who think I'm missing out by not having any interest in camping. I like walls and a solid roof over my head, ta.
Does matter: Sleeping in a comfortable bed with a bathroom mere feet away.

Doesn't matter: Anyone who tells me my skincare routine is 'excessive'.
Does matter: Cleanser, acid toner, face oil, moisturiser, spot treatment. Happy skin.

And perhaps most important of all...

Does matter: My friends and family. Spending time with them is what keeps me going and I want them to be happy.

What's important to you? And what doesn't matter? Let me know in the comments!

Snow Fairy and Friends

Monday, 7 November 2016

Snow Fairy is my favourite Lush scent.

No. Ignore that.

Snow Fairy is my favourite scent ever.

It's cute and comforting, and yes, I will say it, it reminds me of Christmas. Which makes more than enough sense seeing as Snow Fairy is a solid part of the Lush's festive range!

I'll admit, I went into my local store on the very first day they released the festive range because I just couldn't wait. I ended up with a bottle of Snow Fairy Shower Gel, the Magic Wand, and the new Snow Fairy Body Conditioner.

Emma (the assistant  very friendly and helpful) did show me some shimmering powder but as tempted as I was, I didn't buy it because I just can't see myself wearing it regularly. The dress code in my office is very casual but I think even they would draw the line at glitter.

Snow Fairy and Magic Wand

Snow Fairy Shower Gel, from £3.95 for 100g

Let's start with the original. This candyfloss shower gel has been one of the loves of my beauty life ever since I first gave it a sniff. Bright pink with subtle silver lustre running through it, it smells of bubblegum and sweets and everything good in the world. It also leaves my skin thoroughly cleansed, although I would recommend using a moisturiser afterwards.

Snow Fairy Body Conditioner

Snow Fairy Body Conditioner, from £7.95 for 100g

I'm guessing it wouldn't be a surprise if I told you the conditioner was pink? It's a lighter colour than the shower gel, more of a marshmallow pink, but with the exact same scent (of course!) which means you can layer them.

You simply apply the body conditioner in the shower, leave it for a mo, and then rinse it off. I love this idea in theory, since it's less faff, but no matter how much rinsing I do I'm left with a sticky residue on my skin, which I'm not a fan of. For that reason, I wouldn't buy it again.

(Can we have a Snow Fairy body lotion please? With a texture like Dream Cream? I would buy tubs and tubs of it.)

However, what I do love is that the person on the Lush website who's applying the body conditioner is a man with tattoos. There is something wonderful about knowing a man with body art is taking the time to use a pink moisturiser that smells of sweets. More men should feel free to do this.

Snow Fairy and Friends

Magic Wand reusable bubble bar, £5.95

I was never the girl who wanted all things pink and glittery while I was growing up, but how can you not love a fairy wand covered in sparkles? All you do is swish Magic Wand around in the bath for a bit and there you go - candy-scented bubbles.

I love having a Snow Fairy-scented bath but Magic Wand is not particularly practical. Where on earth do you store it? You can't leave it to dry out on the side in the bathroom because it won't; it's too damp. But it stains everything pink, so where else can it go? I have it balanced in a storage box with the star poking out and I must say it's making my room smell lovely. But I think Lush need to start selling a bigger tin.

Have you tried any of the Snow Fairy range? What's your favourite festive scent? Let me know in the comments!

What I Ate In a Day #1 — The Transition Phase

Sunday, 6 November 2016

When I wrote my Giving Up Meat and Dairy post, I asked if people would be interested if I started writing about food and what type of posts they'd like to read if so.

The answer to the first question was a definite yes and I got a fair few comments and tweets suggesting I do What I Ate in a Day posts. I probably would have written them anyway, because I love reading them and wanted to have a go myself, but it's nice to know that people are interested all the same!

This particular day was a weekday, so I was at work, and I'm calling it the transition phase because although giving up meat has been way easier than I thought it would be, giving up dairy hasn't been so straightforward. But I'm taking things one step at a time, and trying not to pressure myself.

Nakd Nibbles (Coconut)


Breakfast

Banana oat smoothie

My smoothie obsession began when I was struggling to function in the morning after starting my internship and needed something that was easy to take with me, in case I didn't have time to eat at home.

This particular smoothie is easy to make  you just blend frozen banana, yogurt, oats, and almond butter together, and then top it with whatever you fancy (I like blueberries). The frozen banana gives it an ice-cream-esque texture which feels really indulgent.

At the moment I'm using natural yogurt which isn't dairy free because the only alternatives I've found contain soya, which my skin hates. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Soup ingredients

Mid-morning snack

Graze Zesty Lime & Red Pepper Salsa with Wholemeal Pitta Chips

By the time 11am rolls round I've already been awake for five and a half hours, so getting to lunchtime without having a snack is impossible (trust me, I've tried). I get my Graze boxes sent on Saturdays so that I have four snacks ready to go for the week ahead  four is normally enough because we go out to eat on Fridays and lunch tends to be a bit more filling  and I like not knowing what to expect each week.

The lime and red pepper salsa is a favourite of mine and you get just the right amount of pitta chips for dipping. Although I must confess, I do get paranoid that everyone in the office can hear me crunching away  does anyone else ever feel like this?

Lunch

Creamy green vegetable soup; rosemary focaccia bread roll from Pret

This soup contains peas, broccoli, courgettes and cannellini beans and I'll be posting the recipe once I've managed to take some decent photos of it! It's quickly becoming one of my staples because takes less than fifteen minutes to put together and makes a comforting cold-weather lunch.

I'm not sure there's much you can say about bread, except that it's delicious and perfect for dipping. (Plus I got mine on the house the other day, which was an unexpected but welcome surprise.)

Butternut squash and chickpea curry
No, I don't eat my dinner in bed! But the lighting in my kitchen is shit, to be frank, so I had to photograph the curry in my bedroom instead.

Afternoon snack

Nakd Coconut Bliss Fruit & Nut Nibbles

I don't know what I'd do without Nakd's snacks, I really don't! I like a lot of their range but the coconut nibbles are by far the tastiest, in my opinion, and you get just the right amount to perk you up when the afternoon slump inevitably hits. The ingredients are simple: dates, cashews, raisins, cocoa, and toasted coconut, plus a little rice flour and natural flavouring.

Dinner

Butternut squash and chickpea curry with wholegrain rice

A recipe I created myself which has fast become one of my new favourites. Roasted butternut squash, cauliflower, chickpeas, red onion and spinach, all cooked in a coconut milk and lime sauce (with a little bit of korma paste for extra flavour). Delicious and filling, it's a dish I love coming home to, or taking into work the next day for lunch.

What kind of thing do you eat on a weekday? And do you have any dairy-free yogurt suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Bee Good Award Winners

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

You may remember a time a while back when it felt like almost every blogger was featuring British skincare brand Bee Good.

I read every review with interest (especially since they were pretty much all positive!) but never got round to trying any of their products. Until now.

Before we start, here's a little bit about the brand. Bee Good was founded in 2008 by Simon, a beekeeper, and his wife, Caroline. Caroline was interested in using the excess honey and beeswax to create skincare products and so the brand was born. I really love that they've found a use for the excess instead of simply throwing it away.

I received the Award Winners* gift pack, £9.50, which contains a small 30ml tube of the much-hyped Honey & Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser and 10ml of the Vanilla & Honey Lip Balm.

Bee Good Award Winners

Honey & Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser, £11.50 for 100ml

The gift pack comes with a teeny muslin cloth, which is so small that there's no point it even being there; I may use it as a duster. But the cleanser itself is lovely. The creamy texture feels soft and nourishing on the skin, without being too heavy, while the eucalyptus scent reminds me strongly of Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish  something to bear in mind if you like/dislike that particular smell, although the honey in this does balance it out a bit.

I would only ever use this as a morning and/or second cleanser, though, because it stings like nothing else when you use it to take your make-up off. This is never welcome, but it's especially unwelcome when you have to put contact lenses in the next day.

That said, the Honey & Propolis Cleanser hasn't upset my skin or caused an acne flare-up, nor did I wake up with panda eyes the next day. I won't be investing in the full-size version but I'd be happy to use it in the mornings for now.

Vanilla & Honey Lip Balm, £4.75 for 10ml

I'll be upfront: I'm in love. I am not loyal to lip balms in the slightest and try to have as many on the go as possible (insert your own jokes here) but this is definitely one I can see myself buying again. Smooth and moisturising with a sweet scent, it glides on lips and has a long-lasting effect, instead of drying your skin out about half an hour or so.

For some reason I was convinced this had white chocolate in, but no  it's the sweetness of the vanilla and honey that does it. Some may find it quite sickly but I have to admit, I like it. It's comforting in the same way your favourite dessert is after you've had a difficult day.

Have you tried anything from Bee Good before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
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